There are few things better than a warm, golden waffle. Seeing those little indents brimming with sweet maple syrup is a mood lifter if there ever was one. Apparently, the love of flipped batter goes all the way back to the Neolithic Age (ca. 6000 B.C.E. to ca. 2000 B.C.E.). But, what we know and recognize as a waffle dates to the late 19th century when Cornelius Swarthout of Troy, New York, received a patent on the first waffle iron. The anniversary of that date - August 24th - is recognized as National Waffle Day. Any excuse to eat more waffles, right? Oh, and did you know that the waffle supposedly inspired Bill Bowerman to use the honeycomb shape on the sole of a pair of sneakers? Nike sneakers. The rest is history.
Waffles aren't hard to make, assuming that you have a waffle iron, but it's one of those cooking tasks that doesn't always translate to a busy morning - or evening. I don't put silly restrictions on when one should/should not eat waffles. That's why I prefer to batch cook a bunch of 'em, and toss 'em into the freezer for those "I must have a waffle" moments. And, these will put those more expensive, grocery store freezer waffles to shame.
I use, as you can see, the Calphalon Intellicrisp waffle maker, and I'm very pleased with it. Cooks 'em right every time, and is easily adjustable for lighter/darker. The waffles lift off easily and never stick. They seem to be crispier on the outside and fluffier on the inside than with my older waffle maker.
So, what do you need to make waffles? Not much beyond a waffle maker, whole wheat flour, some Chickpea flour, baking soda and such. Oh, BTW, always check the 'date' on your baking soda. I toss baking soda that is within a month of its' expiration date. It's really annoying to go to the trouble to make something only to have it fail - not rise - because the baking soda (a nickle and dime expense) was old. You can 'test' your baking powder - spoon a ½ tsp of your baking powder into a bowl, then add ¼ cup boiling water to it. If it bubbles up violently, you're good to go. If not, discard it and buy a new tin. Baking powder lasts 6 months to one year.
I added the Chickpea flour for the additional protein boost and fiber. It also lends a slightly 'nutty' flavor that lends itself well to both sweet and savory baked items like waffles. It's also low on the glycemic index and has phytosterols (plant compounds that resemble cholesterol) in addition to polyphenols, such as flavonoids, which have antioxidant properties and are anti-inflammatory. You can go with a larger ratio of Chickpea flour to whole wheat, but be careful with this. Ratios are tricky in baking and the experts at the Old Grains Council offer some helpful tips.
So, let's assemble our ingredients:
1⁄4 cup chickpea flour 3⁄4 cup whole wheat flour 1 tbsp baking powder* 1⁄4 tsp salt 2 tsp ground flaxseed 1 cup plant milk 1 tsp vanilla extract 2 tbsp maple syrup
* Check the date on your baking powder.
How to do it:
1- Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. 2- Mix wet ingredients, and pour into the dry. Mix until no lumps remain. 3- Preheat your waffle iron. If you have a non-stick waffle iron, you shouldn’t need any oil. If not (or it’s simply older and needs a little help) I recommend the spray oil. My waffle iron tells me when the thing is ready to cook, and when the waffles are ‘done’. I’m going to assume that yours does as well, or you’ve been to this rodeo enough times to just ‘know’ that. Let the finished waffles cool thoroughly on a wire rack if you’re going to freeze them. Don’t freeze warm waffles. They freeze great, lasting for at least 3 months in the big cold bin. Let ‘em thaw on the counter, or nuke ‘em for about 30 seconds. They also work well in the toaster.
We love waffles for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner! They can be slathered with maple syrup, date syrup or honey. Piled high with various fruits. You can spoon any number of stews over them - think a lentil dal. They pair well with plant proteins like chikin or turk'y patties, plant-based sausage patties or homemade seitan slices in BBQ sauce. I'm particularly fond of dragging a hunk of waffle through my Creamy Chikin Gravy. Ohhhhh. Yum.
BTW: I'll say it again - If you're going to freeze your waffles, be sure to let them cool completely on a wire rack. Stick those waffles into a freezer while still warm is a recipe for soggy waffles on the other end. And, be certain to wrap them up so they won't dry out in the freezer. I use my FoodSaver vacuum packer for this. FoodSaver now has resealable zip-lok bags that you can open, get a couple waffles out, and vacuum reseal.
BELOW: Waffles with stewed apples/pears/persimmons and a Gardein Meatless Turk'y Cutlet and gravy.
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If you'd like to download and print the recipe, here it is: